Local Union Encourages Apprenticeship

Local News

DES MOINES- Skills tradesman are needed all over the U.S, especially here in Iowa.

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, highlighting those workers. And at Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 33, they offer a five year apprenticeship program.

“The skills that we teach them here range from boiler work to welding to plumbing, refrigeration, ammonia refrigeration, process piping, they have the opportunity to do so much in this trade,” said assistant training director, Lee Gard.

These 350 apprentices do both class work and get hands on experience and that hands on experience is essential to the trade.

“You can’t really learn how to weld through a book. We do do book reading, but it’s very hands on. They have all the material here, all the tools here that you need to really, actually learn so that way you can mess it up here instead of messing it up out in the field,” said Adam Heintz, a second year apprentice.

Not only are they getting this hands on training, but they are getting multiple certifications and licenses, starting with 30 hour OSHA.

“Our most important asset is our workforce, it’s our membership so we want them to be able to work safely and go home every night ot their family, friends without any injuries,” said Gard.

These apprentices spend one week here training every six weeks all while also being employed in a similar field.

Second year apprentice, Adam Heintz, works in Altoona building the data center for Facebook. A lot of his daily work is similar to his apprenticeship training.

“Whether it’s welding, whether it’s knowing codes where pipes need to go, whether it’s brazing the pipes together, the entire process you learn here and you just practice it out here, get it nailed down with repetition.”

Heintz enjoys welding and is looking forward to his future.

“I like work that you can take pride in and leave at the end of the day feeling satisfied, plus a nice paycheck is good too,” said Heintz.

As soon as these apprenticeships start, you get health insurance and a pension program, so you can retire early.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.